Relevant reads: Culture

By Collection Management Librarian Dontaná McPherson-Joseph

Culture is created, manifested, and maintained. It cannot not exist without people actively perpetuating it, and it does not exist in a vacuum. These books explore Black culture in America, how it shapes and is shaped by music, and the ways racial and socioeconomic inequalities influence it.

You can find all of the title suggestions below available in your digital library through Media on Demand and Libby and/or Hoopla.

Books about Black culture


Magical Negro by Morgan Parker

Why you should try it: Parker’s third award winning collection examines the fullness of the Black experience.

Description: A latest collection by the prizewinning author of There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé explores Black American womanhood through evocative themes ranging from self-conception and loneliness to objectification and ancestral trauma.

Stream & download with: Media on Demand & Libby (ebook)

They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us by Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib

Why you should try it: These deeply affecting essays reflect on being Black and being Muslim in America using music and musicians ranging from Bruce Springsteen to Chance the Rapper as a reference.

Description: A collection of literary essays by the cultural critic, MTV News columnist, and author of The Crown Ain’t Worth Much uses music and culture as a gauge for better understanding the world, the self, and the challenges of today.

Stream & download with: Media on Demand & Libby (ebook)

Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Social Upheaval by Saidiya V Hartman

Why you should try it: Hartman’s award-winning work examines the intimate lives of Black people, specifically Black women, in urban northern cities like New York and Philadelphia. Escaping a rural lifestyle in the south, they were determined to live as freely as possible.

Description: Traces a lesser-known time of radical transformation of Black life in early 20th-century America, revealing how a large number of Black women forged relationships, families, and jobs that were more empowered and typically indifferent to moral dictates.

Stream & download with: Hoopla (digital audiobook)

Librarian Dontaná McPherson-Joseph

About Dontaná

Dontaná is a Collection Management Librarian who was born with an unending reading list. She is almost always reading two books simultaneously and is easily distracted by cool covers.  

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